Maradona, as others see him
“Everyone has an opinion on Diego Armando Maradona, and that’s been the case since his playing days. His magnificent performances and extraordinary goals at Mexico 86 will live forever in the memories of all football lovers, myself included. My most vivid recollection is of this incredibly gifted kid at the second FIFA U-20 World Cup in Japan in 1979. He left everyone open-mouthed every time he got on the ball. And at the age of 50 he still has many years in which to keep showing us his talent.”
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.
“I asked myself, ‘Who is this man? Who is this footballing magician, this Sex Pistol of international football, this cocaine victim who kicked the habit, looked like Falstaff and was as weak as spaghetti?’ If Andy Warhol had still been alive, he would have definitely put Maradona alongside Marilyn Monroe and Mao Tse-Tung. I’m convinced that if he hadn’t been a footballer, he’d've become a revolutionary.”
Emir Kusturica, musician, film director and the maker of a documentary on the life of Maradona.
“Diego is great friend and very noble too. There’s also no question he’s a wonderful athlete and has maintained a friendship with Cuba to no material gain of his own.”
Fidel Castro, former leader of Cuba.
“Even if I played for a million years, I’d never come close to Maradona. Not that I’d want to anyway. He’s the greatest there’s ever been.”
Lionel Messi, Argentinian footballer.
“What Zidane could do with a ball, Maradona could do with an orange.”
Michel Platini, UEFA President.
“To my generation he was the greatest we’d ever seen.”
Pep Guardiola, Barcelona coach.
“Pele’s my idol but I saw Maradona play. There’s no question in my mind that he’s the number one. He might have had his faults but he’s shown on the pitch what real football is all about. My dream is to play with him one day, if only for a few minutes. I learned a lot just by watching him play.”
Roberto Carlos, Brazilian footballer.
“The greatest player I’ve ever seen, way ahead of everyone else, including [Michel] Platini, [Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge and the rest. Maradona was a cut above.”
Paolo Maldini, former Italy international.
“Diego has always been my idol. I remember when he invited me to his house for a game. It was a surprise and a dream for me. I never imagined we’d be kicking a ball around together.”
Ronaldinho, Brazilian footballer.
“He’s given us a lot of entertainment, to me personally and to everyone who loves good football. I’m a fan of Maradona’s and I’ll remain one till the end of time.”
Carlos Valderrama, former Colombia international.
“He was my footballing hero. When I was young I tried to do the moves and score the goals he scored at Mexico 86. I’ve never admired any player as much as him.”
Raul Gonzalez, Spanish footballer.
“He’s always been an idol. I wanted to emulate him when I started playing because of everything he did and conveyed out on the pitch. There’s never been anyone better than him.”
Luis Figo, former Portugal international.
“Diego apologised to me after he scored the second goal against England. He could see me unmarked at the far post the whole way but he couldn’t find a gap to get the ball to me. The fact is I felt offended. It was an insult to my profession. I mean, even on a run like that he still has the time to look up and see me. As a player I was nothing compared to him. He was incredible.”
Jorge Valdano, former Argentina international and a team-mate of Maradona’s at Mexico 1986.